Skip to main content

The Quadruple Threat: Harper Messiah

Athlete of the Month: Harper Messiah

This is another interview from our Athlete of the Month (AOTM) series in partnership with TrueSport. To nominate an athlete or learn more, explore our AOTM headquarters.

Very few athletes show as much grit on the gridiron as Patrick Mahomes, but this month's SportsEngine x TrueSport Athlete of the Month might give Mahomes a run for his money one day. Like Mahomes, he is a multi-sport athlete. Also, like Mahomes, he is a leader for his teams on and off the field. Meet 11-year-old Harper Messiah.

Whether running the 50-meter dash, leading his team in flag football, or pitching a baseball game, Harper gives his team and coaches 110%.

"That's all we ask of our kids -- whether it's school, extracurricular activities, or sports, that they work to see those commitments through," says Harper's father, Euseph Messiah. He says he tries to instill the phrase "no matter what, you can always control your attitude and your effort" in all his children's minds. Our interviewer, TrueSport Ambassador, and three-time Paralympian Trevon "Trey" Jenifer, agrees.

Harper sat down with Trey for a conversation about family, sports, and so much more. 



Trey: "So you're a multi-sport athlete? Baseball, football, and track?"

Harper: "Yes, for my school. I've been switching from football and baseball for the past two years and recently started track. Last year I did the 50-meter dash, and this year I did the 70-meter dash."

Trey: "So what's your favorite sport out of all of them?"

Harper: "It depends; if I am currently playing one specific sport, I give it my all." 

Trey: "Living in the moment, I like that."

Getting 'hyped' for a big game

As you can imagine, these two athletes had a lot to discuss about what goes into a big game day. Harper discusses the importance of focus before a big game with the maturity and poise of a pro.

Harper: "When we're driving in the car to the game, I try to tune my siblings and the noise out, haha. My dad tells me to get focused. We may listen to some music that's like hype music and all that stuff. In the morning, my dad will help me stretch and drink a lot of water. We get this big jug filled up and just get mentally and physically prepared for the event."

Trey: "How do you help your teammates stay positive on the tough days?"

Harper: "When it comes to losing, we try to make it a short memory, so that you're always ready for the next play and that you don't remember the bad things. [You] just kind of get over it at that moment and be ready for the next blood."

Trey: "Haha, I love it. You sound like you should be one of the coaches for my team. I lie to you not, I play for Team USA for Wiltshire basketball, and one of my coaches (Ron Lykins) gave great advice. Right now we have won two gold medals with him and he also won two gold medals with the women. He's got four gold medals altogether. One of the things he always said to me was "You're zero for zero no matter what you do. So if you shoot the ball, you miss it. You're zero for zero. You make it, you're zero for zero." So that way you don't have these peaks and valleys of emotions because of the way that you're playing."

What similar advice has your dad or a coach given you that helps you in the tougher moments of a game?

Harper: "Mainly my dad and my coach, they both tell me to, like, just relax in the moment. Just like, breathe. Take a moment to just breathe and look at the bigger picture. Do what you remember like muscle memory and everything will fall into place and it'll go perfectly."

Trey: "The muscle memory, all the reps, and practices that you do right now, that's awesome."

Favorite youth sports memory

Harper: "Yes. I've played football since I was six, and we played with the same teammates, so most of the kids that I'm throwing with I've been with for the past five years. We really have a good connection against new teams. So it's kind of like we can read each other's minds."

"And last year we played our last no-touch game. We're playing tackle football now, [and my favorite move] is called boot fire and it's where I do a fake pitch to the right and I roll out the other way, and most of the time they might guard the post that's going out. So I'll have to roll around and everyone else still falls into place. I found that especially in these last years, my arms are getting a lot stronger, so I've thrown so many touchdown passes, especially long ones. It's so much fun."

What advice would you give a friend that may want to try to do the 50-meter dash or one of your sports?

Harper: "I just tell them what my dad tells me—make sure you stretch—and do the basics so they can get better at anything they do."

Trey: "That is great advice, because the older I get, the more I hurt, so stay stretching. It is good to start young."

How do you balance track, the ball diamond, and school?

Harper: "I try and listen to every single detail that my teacher is telling me, or just mainly recommend just to pay attention, focus, and listen always because there might be one thing that you hear one time and it may help you to take notes. It'll always come back."

Trey: "That's great. Review again, and again, and it will stick with you. Now beyond sports and school, I know you're the oldest in your family, so this is going to be a perfect question for you— are your other siblings doing sports too?"

Harper: "Yes they are. I have a little brother who's five. He's in kindergarten. He plays soccer, and he's not doing gymnastics right now. But he did do gymnastics. And my little sister, who's eight and in 3rd grade, she's doing soccer and gymnastics right now, too."

Trey: "Okay, so I am one of five brothers and sisters. And I know that we love to compete against each other. We'd love to be the best and try to push each other. Do you feel as though, being the oldest, you are that role model for them to follow in the footsteps of as your career goes on?"

Harper: "Yes, and this is specifically towards sports, but my little brother, since he's so much like me, I've taught him a lot. I just want to set a good example."

Leaving a legacy

A common question we like to ask our Athlete of the Month nominees is what kind of legacy do they want to leave behind. Harper did not fall short on his answer. He stated that he's part of a program called REACH, where kids dive into a tougher curriculum and serve as leaders to their peers. As he dawned on one of his favorite sports team jerseys (Tom Brady), Harper said he wants to work so hard that people remember his name.

Speed Round 'This' or 'That' with Harper

(Answers are in bold)

  • Pitch the World Series or Be a Quarterback in the Super Bowl?
  • Water or Powerade?
  • Early bird or Sleep in?
  • Road Trip or Take a Flight Somewhere?
  • Send a text or Make a phone call

Favorite hype song before a big game?

  • X Gon' Give It To Ya by DMX

Favorite sports team?

  • The Bengals
Sports in this article

Track & Field, Baseball, Football

Tags in this article

Sportsmanship Parent SportsEngine